Who are you? Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Jess. I’m 34 years old splitting my time between San Francisco, LA, and Hawaii with my soon-to-be wife Malia. I’ve moved around since I was a kid and have never lived in one place for very long, so this rotation feels pretty natural to me. I’d say I’m from Venice Beach, Kauai, Italy, and San Francisco. I’ve surfed since I was a grom and just completed my first feature film.
Tell us about the property you live on here.
I bought a piece of land from an old childhood friend. He and his family owned an acre and sold me a quarter of it. It’s a block from the beach and on a dirt road that doesn’t get any traffic. There are roosters, rabbits, and fruit trees on the property and you can hear the waves when you go to sleep at night.
Who designed & built it and how long did it take?
The house was designed and built by San Francisco artist Jay Nelson. He and a small team from the outer Sunset flew out and put the house together in five weeks. A few months later another crew flew out and helped build the lanai
What are your favorite parts of your home?
The wood and the wabi-sabi feel it has. Most of the wood is reclaimed from old growth redwood fence boards that Jay rescued, cleaned up, then strategically placed. When you lie down in bed you can really feel the love that was put into the home.
Tell us about the project you are now wrapping up with your neighbor, Aamion and his family.
I just finished a film called Given. The working title while we were shooting was called The Goodwin Project. We traveled the world for 14 months with cameras, surfboards, and a family that consisted of two legendary surfers, a 4-year-old, and a newborn. The film is told through the eyes of the boy traveling along this journey that his father’s father did with him. As they travel and surf around the world, the kids learn important life lessons and also see different crafts from 15 countries.
What were some of the craziest stories from the production of the film?
What I can say is that it was the hardest thing I have ever done. A lot happened over the course of a year and a half… Riding on a boat for 20 hours on 30-foot swells in the Marshall Islands to getting tick-bite fever in South Africa and thinking we were all going to die. Too many crazy things to recount.
Were you constantly stoked for the year traveling the world like that filming, or was it hard to work on the same project for so long?
So hard! I just barely finished. I almost quit a million times. Everyone around me was doing so many cool projects that they would start and finish within a month or two. Each day that passed felt like being the last kid in class taking the test while everyone else was out at recess.
This article was originally published on Indoek as part of the Surf Shacks series, featuring the homes of creative surfers from coast to coast and overseas. See the full interview and photo gallery here.